Scientists have identified why people sometimes die from a broken heart after grief or relationship breakdowns.
They found stressful life events increase levels of two molecules in heart cells which play a crucial role in the development of takotsubo cardiomyopathy – or ‘broken heart syndrome’.
The breakthrough, by Imperial College London, paves the way for new treatment options that could prevent future deaths.
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If the age-old theory of soulmates is but a theory, why are so many inclined to believe in it—is it really just a myth? Or is there some merit to this theory?
“I desire to write an immortal book,” announces the character Mrs. Spring Fragrance in one of the first stories of the collection Mrs. Spring Fragrance, originally published in 1912. It stopped me cold, that beguiling phrase. What does it mean for a book to be immortal?
This question permeates the life and work of Mrs. Spring Fragrance’s creator, Sui Sin Far, born Edith Maude Eaton in 1865, a woman acutely aware of her role as one of the first North American writers of Chinese heritage. One path to immortality is through myths and parables—the first stories, which Far loved. While this collection is set in San Francisco and Seattle at the turn of the twentieth century, I am not reminded of realist fiction so much as of Greek myths and Aesop’s fables. Far’s stories have that speed, that cadence, that resounding thud of a moral message hitting the floor. Characters are painted in broad, familiar brushstrokes: sweet young wives, rich men, poor strivers, precocious children, star-crossed lovers. Events unfold swiftly, in high color. Far’s stories are meant for grand stages, the characters larger than life.
The number of divorces recorded in China has fallen by more than 70% since the introduction of a mandatory “cooling-off” period earlier this year.
According to statistics released by the country’s Ministry of Civil Affairs, 296,000 divorces were registered in the first quarter of 2021, compared to 1.06 million in the final quarter of last year – a drop of 72%. There was a nearly 52% drop year-on-year, from 612,000 in the first quarter of 2020.
Under a new Civil Code which came into force on January 1, couples filing for divorce must wait 30 days after submitting their application, during which time either party can withdraw the petition. They must then apply again after the month is up in order for the marriage to be ended.
The law, based on local legislation already in force in several parts of the country, was widely criticized as hampering personal freedoms and potentially trapping people in unhappy or even violent marriages. But supporters in state media defended it as “ensuring family stability and social order.”
Divorces have been steadily increasing in China over recent years, due in part to reduced social stigma and greater autonomy for women, with wives instigating more than 70% of divorces, according to the All-China Women’s Federation.
And at first glance, research seems to back this up, suggesting that married people are on average happier than single people and much happier than divorced people.1 But a closer analysis reveals that if you split up “married people” into two groups based on marriage quality, “people in self-assessed poor marriages are fairly miserable, and much less happy than unmarried people, and people in self-assessed good marriages are even more happy than the literature reports”.2 In other words, here’s what’s happening in reality:
Today I’d like to show why the practice of paying for dates on sites like Match.com and eHarmony is fundamentally broken, and broken in ways that most people don’t realize.
At your wedding, you set out on a two-person expedition toward a place you try to envision but have never seen. Later, you may wake one morning alone under an alien sky and wonder how you ever came to be here.
You may not have heard of Robin Dunbar. But you will, perhaps, know of his work. Dunbar, now emeritus professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University, is the man who first suggested that there may be a cognitive limit to the number of people with whom you can comfortably maintain stable social relationships – or, as Stephen Fry put it on the TV show QI, the number of people “you would not hesitate to go and sit with if you happened to see them at 3am in the departure lounge at Hong Kong airport”. Human beings, Dunbar found when he conducted his research in the 1990s, typically have 150 friends in general (people who know us on sight, and with whom we have a history), of whom just five can usually be described as intimate.
A new study finds that watching and discussing movies about relationships is as effective in lowering divorce rates as other, more intensive early marriage counseling programs.
Is a marriage apocalypse coming? Looking at current trends, it’s already here. Modernity, as destructive and unexpected as an asteroid, has ravaged societal norms. The hegemony of formal marriage over relationships is ending. Yet, like the dinosaurs evolving into birds, formal marriage persists, just transformed and more marginal. In its formal place, a zoo of new relationships is appearing. There’s casual cohabitation for couples testing the waters. There are registered unions for those unwilling to sign the big contract. And there’s a fieldguide of lesser-known arrangements, from living apart together (when longterm partners keep separate addresses) to kitchen-table polyamory (when a tangle of nonmonogamous partners are intimate enough to have breakfast together).
Marriage is weakening. It’s diversifying. But it won’t disappear any time soon.
When feeling good about ourselves matters more than filial duty, cutting off our parents comes to seem like a valid choice
A Pew Research Center report about living arrangements in 130 countries and territories published in 2019 analyzed the number of people residing in polygamous households, as well as other types of households. Here are some key findings from that report, and from a separate study of customs and laws around the world.
This essay focuses on personal love, or the love of particular persons as such. Part of the philosophical task in understanding personal love is to distinguish the various kinds of personal love. For example, the way in which I love my wife is seemingly very different from the way I love my mother, my child, and my friend. This task has typically proceeded hand-in-hand with philosophical analyses of these kinds of personal love, analyses that in part respond to various puzzles about love. Can love be justified? If so, how? What is the value of personal love? What impact does love have on the autonomy of both the lover and the beloved?